Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What makes a work environment great

Have you ever wondered about the perfect workplace? It's time to set your imagination free and listen to it. Maybe you can establish some of the components tomorrow.

I'm quite lucky that I could work at really great places. I'm not stoned, though, I still can see the place for improvements. Maybe I start with the places I've been at and I liked it.

I worked from home for year or so. That's not an office, I know. But it was great because it was literrally the closest 'office' ever. And I could effectively have lunch and lacking the daily commute I saved some time.

Then I had an apartment, where everything was like an apartment. Bed, sofa, kitchen, TV, etc. We even had a guitar. We could easily change places anytime we needed, or rooms. Every once in a while we reordered the flat and it was fun. It created a very family like atmosphere. We liked it so much we often were sleeping in the office. Probably I'd be castrated if I publish what else we did it. It also had a balcony where I guess we had our first true bro-talks.

Then I was working in a medium sized office with a bigger balcony (and twice as many). It had a great space, everybody in his/her own realm. Many toilettes. Here the cool thing was the beanbags and my precious stereo. First time I could listen to music as loud as I could. Massive upvote.

I've also worked in a huge mega company, where there was a free beverage vending machine. It's fine as far as it's the normal selection. But it had the most amazing fruit drink I've ever tasted. And also a special cold chocolate drink. All for free. Not to mention that close to the office there was a great friterie /wrap place.

Then I've worked at a place where the canteen had a different meal each day for a whole year. And none of them was familiar before.

Then I've worked at another huge company which great for its enterprise culture. Boxes, huge 27 inch iMac-s, donuts, meeting, conference calls, travels, departments, free-drink parties.

I didn't mention people. They always one of the obvious and yet crucial part of your workplace experience. People who would kill for a secret Vim combo. So let's not talk about people, or as Tom Haverford once said, "things are forever".

So what makes a great place great?

Freedom. Nobody want's to work on the same desk all the times. Or facing to the same wall. Or sitting the whole day. I need beanbags, then I want a sofa, and a bed, and then just standing. And of course a couch. See the Google office. The boat, the tent and the other themes. Brilliant.
Freedom also means work has no contraints. You can work anytime you want. You can have a nap if you feel like. You can decide what OS you want to use. Or watch kitten videos, because you deserve it.

Food. Seems pretty strange but food is one thing I cannot leave out. I kinda eat or drink all the time. Tea, milk, biscuit, chicken, spaghetti, peanut butter, candy, banana, apple, you name it. Eating not just makes you feel safe but keeps the right amount of focus locked so you can concentrate on your work better. I remember working at a place where the closest decent restaurant was 30 minutes far. And in general the whole city was lacking proper food.

Personality. Yes, the third magical ingredient is a personal essence. Or more. Having a guitar, having games, or books, your iPad can make the environment a place for recreations. The more you can spend without work is actually decrease the time you spend on doing them. Not just items but activities. You can decorate the space and make it yours. We spend a significant amount of our time in offices. Why not make it a fun place?

There should be a different article about habits and human behavior that can make a place great. I think there it's even more little practices that can be used.



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